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The Social Bridge to the IT Committee
 

The Social Bridge to the IT Committee

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comScore and LinkedIn unveil new research showing how social platforms provide a trusted resource for today’s IT purchasing. ...

comScore and LinkedIn unveil new research showing how social platforms provide a trusted resource for today’s IT purchasing.

Presented at TechConnect:13 by Jake Raroque, Research Consultant at LinkedIn and Roslyn Ku, Vice President at comScore

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  • Hi everyone, I’m Jake Raroque and joining me shortly from comScore will be Roslyn Ku and we are going to share some insights around how you can leverage content on social media to build relationships with IT buyers
  • We all know that the buyer is in control. They own the process more than they have ever have before. In fact, studies show that they are 60% through the decision making process before they reach out to a brand. And that is what we are here today to talk about. How can you get in front of and influence these buyers before they get to the point of wanting to engage with a technology vendor.http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/pdf/Digital-Evolution-in-B2B-Marketing.pdf
  • Because if you don’t develop a relationship with the buyer earlier in the process, you risk being left on the sidelines.The implications for not engaging early include:less exposure to clients and prospectsa decrease in lead potential, andrisk of not being considered a true partner and thought leader
  • Now more than ever, tech marketers have an opportunity to use social media to bridge the gap and build relationships
  • So, why it is critical to foster long-term relationships?
  • There is a scarcity of those who influence B2B tech purchases. According to comScore, there are 15 MM people in the US who were involved in tech purchases for their company. And Forrester estimates they will influence $820 Billion dollars in the US this year. On the surface of it, this is still a sizable number of influencers, but think about how much marketing you are doing? How many people you are reaching with your campaigns today with all of the various messaging you put out there. Now think about this from the standpoint of your target audience and how easily they can get annoyed by poorly placed marketing. We know how much more expensive it is to gain a new customer versus retaining an existing one. If you are just churning and burning and not thinking about the long term engagement, you are alienating this important audience.
  • Traditionally, when people think about this audience, they typically describe them as being within the IT department or being very senior at their company. When surveyed this audience, the key criteria was that they were substantially involved during at least one phase of the decision making process for their company.What we found was that these influencers extend beyond just IT. In fact 43% work outside of IT in departments like Finance and SalesWe also saw that seniority went across the board. Half identified as being either an individual contributor or managerThese influencers form a Tech Committee
  • To better understand what this Tech Committee is thinking, we partnered with comScore to conduct a blinded survey this quarter on our behalf.. The survey takers did not have to use social media to participate and represent tech influencers across the US.To listen to what they are saying, we partnered with Starcom MediaVest Group and Mashwork. SMG is of course one of the top agencies in the world. Mashwork ,is a social media insights firm that listened to 3000 tech conversation in 2012 to understand the differences in content and conversations between senior and junior decision makers.Finally, we looked within LinkedIn’s own data to understand how they engage with content.
  • There are three key things that I’d like you all to walk away with.First, that social media is not just for connecting with peers. The IT Committee wants to hear from vendors on social.Second, you all recognize the importance of making the short list, but we are going to demonstrate just how exclusive and critical making that list is.Finally, we’ll talk to you about how you can make the short list by fostering long-term relationships while also serving your short term needs through lead gen.With that, I’ll hand it over to Roslyn Ku from comScore to start walking us through the findings.
  • To address the first key finding Jake mentioned, we saw that the IT Committee is actively seeking conversations with vendors on social.
  • Nearly all of the IT Committee uses social media for business purposes. It was already high last year, but with 95% telling us they it for business this year, social media is a de facto platform for the IT Committee. And LinkedIn leads all other social platforms with 86% of the IT Committee telling us they use LinkedIn for business.Q10. How frequently do you visit each of the following social networks for information specific to your work or business?
  • How did social become a de facto platform for the IT Committee? TERA. Trust, Efficiency, Relevancy and Access. When making purchase decisions, they turn to social media because they trust their peers, they can find information efficiently, social provides a relevant context to connect with vendors and they have access to a broader network. Social media has enabled peer validation at scale, and this is how they communicate, debate, and decide on IT purchases.To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about [the following networks], as they relate to your role in the IT decision-making process? - % agree
  • TERA drives utilization through the entire decision making process. Starting with discovering and generating awareness of products and solutions. Scoping business needs. Project planning. All the way through to selecting a vendor and implementing the technology, the influence of social media is high and it’s grown year-over-year.Q5. Which of the following information channels influence your discovery of technologies, products, and solutions to address your business needs? Q6. When you identify or scope business needs for an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q7. When you craft project plans or formal business requirements for an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q8. When you select vendors/third party service providers or authorize funding for an IT purchase, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process? Q9. When you implement or roll out an IT initiative, which of the following information channels influence your decision-making process?
  • You’ve all heard the mantra that people want to have companies and brands to be in the conversation. Yesterday only some people wanted it, but today it’s an expectation. Those who haven’t gotten in the conversation are going to be left on the sidelines.Social isn’t just about connecting with peers. This hard to reach audience is open and receptive to hearing from vendors on social networks. Two-thirds said they are open to connecting with a new vendor social. Three-quarters said they are ready to have a conversation with a new vendor on social.Why are they open to talking to a perspective company on a social platform? Because inherently the engagement there is more about the person and less about the company. It’s about discussing and consuming content. It is very much about the value they are getting value because they can control who they engage with on social much more than on other platforms.Q26. Which of the following factors would prevent you from connecting with a potential vendor on any social network?
  • The second key findings was that the vendor short list is more exclusive and critical than you might think
  • Early in the process, the IT Committee has a good idea of who they want to work with, so having a strong relationship means you are more likely to be top of mind.This is important because they only consider 3 vendors on average and 92% purchased from a vendor that made the shortlist. They also stick with what they know. Only 1 in 6 purchased from a vendor they had never work with before.Q32. Had you previously purchased from ?Q30. Before you decided to work with , how many companies made your short list for consideration? - MedianQ33. Was one of the brands you had originally considered?
  • With so few willing to try a new vendor, it begs the question. How do you make the short list if you are a new vendor?
  • The IT Committee doesn’t want to be sold to. We asked them for reasons why they wouldn’t connect to a vendor on social and the number one reason they told us was that they didn’t want to receive a lot of marketing materials. As we look at the other reasons why they wouldn't connect with a vendor, it’s clear they are looking for an authentic conversation. They don’t believe the vendor would provide credible information. They aren’t considered thought leaders. They don’t believe the vendor would provide relevant information or they talk too much about themselves.Static editorial calendars or locking all valuable insights behind lead forms, these traditional ways of communicating may not work on social and could turn off this audience. Q26. Which of the following factors would prevent you from connecting with a potential vendor on any social network?
  • As you think about building relationships with this audience, it will be critical to engage them with content that is authentic, that is valuable and is timely.
  • We asked them what information they seek at each stage of their decision journey. Not just what they are looking for on social media. As you might expect, a diverse set of needs emerges where they tend to seek more macro level information early in the process and shift to information that is more specific later on.TRANSTION TO JAKE, BUT NOT CHANGING SLIDESOne of the big things that LinkedIn saw as we worked with Mashwork and SMG to dig deep into what are people talking about, was what they are engaging with and it’s not all strictly about tech . They have diverse interests and we are seeing a huge potential for companies to participate at a level that isn’t just about their brand. To talk about what your target audience cares about and how your brand plays into that.For example, let’s actually look at the type of content that is actually getting engagement.Q4. What type of information do you generally seek for each of the phases of IT decision-making that you are involved? Awareness - Discover technologies, products, and solutions to address your business needsScope - Identify or scope business needs for a new IT initiativePlan - Craft project plans and formal business requirements for the new initiativeSelect - Select vendors or third party service providers, authorize funding, and/or approve the purchaseImplement/Roll out - Implement the project, roll out the solution, and/or validate outcome
  • Early in the process they are interested in industry news. That doesn’t always mean product information. They want to keep up with trends. There is much more aspirational content, leadership content, functional role content that they are engaging with that they should be considering sharing as well. For example, if you are a Salesforce client you likely want to know when they are making acquisitions, when they are announcing new things. When this article was shared on LinkedIn , about 3200 IT Decision Makers engaged with it. That is they Liked, Clicked, Commented or Shared it.What we also learned was that Senior Decisions makers, by that I mean those whose title is Director or higher, that group is 2X more likely to have shared or engaged with product or industry news than those that are more junior. Those at a manger level or below.And when it came to the type of content, junior decision makers were more likely to focus at a product level (reference quote), while senior decision makers talked more at an industry level (reference quote).
  • Similarly, senior decision makers were 11.5X more likely to have engaged with thought leadership content.One of the ways that people are consuming thought leadership on LinkedIn is through our Influencer program. This particular post from the CEO of GE generated engagement from over 1300 IT Decision Makers(In total 15.5k views, 1,085 inShares, 182 Likes, 53 Comments)
  • Earlier Rosyln mentioned that as the IT Committee moves towards the end of their decision journey, their information needs shift to topics that help them with implementation. And junior decision makers are more likely to engage with this type of content. A member of a tech group posted this article about leveraging analytics.The IT Committee have busy, difficult jobs. A vendor who shares and engages them on multiple topics to meet their diverse needs, earns more interest and long term opportunities than the vendor who only talks about themselves!
  • The final key learning was about the importance of building relationships in order to make the short list.
  • Traditional lead generation like cold calling and blocking content with lead forms is and should continue to be an important way to generate leads. But social is a different animal. Social is about discussion. It’s about open information. You earn it through valuable content.That doesn’t mean you can’t gate content behind lead forms. You just need to be very smart about how you are capturing leads via social so that you are not inhibiting the value it provides. If you give the impression of providing a lot of information, but everything a gate around it, people are going to stop engaging with your brand. However if you are continuing a conversation with someone and occassionally ask for a lead, that’s fine. That’s the sweet spot and you have earned that lead by providing value. You are finding the points in time when they raise their hand and say, yes I want to talk to you further.Because it is a scarce audience, you want to develop a long term relationship so it’s easier to get them when they are ready to make that sales decision.
  • A trusted context matters. We asked them how much LinkedIn is trusted versus other websites. Not just other social networks, but all other websites. What we saw was that over 2X more trusted LinkedIn when it came togetting relevant information for their IT decisionstalking about their vendor experiencesconnecting with vendorsQ27. To what extent do you trust LinkedIn versus other websites in general?
  • And the trusted context of LinkedIn leads to engagement. Compared to other social networks, LinkedIn is used 56% more often to read a post from a vendor 50% more often to follow a vendorThis means higher a likelihood for broad reach and engagement leading ultimately to potential for more consideration
  • In our survey, we asked the IT Committee to tell us the ways in which they engaged with a vendor prior to purchase. Not the number of times, but the number of ways. As you can see along the bottom, we classified them into one of three groups. Either they did not engage with the vendor at all on LinkedIn, they had one type of engagement or 2+ typesWe also looked at the ways the engaged with the vendor directly. Meeting in person, getting a demo, attending a webinar or doing a live chat. What you see is a strong postive correlation between engagement on LinkedIn and direct vendor engagement. Let me say that another way. Your likelihood of getting a meeting with the IT Committee increases as you engage with them on LinkedIn.
  • Those vendors that interact with the IT Committee at a high rate are also more likely to create brand promoters. If you are not familiar with Net Promoter Score, it’s based off the question of how likely you are to recommend a brand, product, service.  The metric allows companies to track promoters and detractors, producing a clear measure of an organization's performance through its customers' eyes. As it approaches 100, the more likely the brand has created loyal enthusiasts who keep buying from a company and urge their friends and colleagues to do the same.Now, using the same groupings where we look at those who didn’t engage with their vendor on LinkedIn, those who did 1 type of engagement or those who engaged in two or more ways, we see a fairly large increase in NPS.
  • You might be asking yourself, how do I use LinkedIn? Where should I be? There are four important places you need to be to get into these conversations. The newsfeed, groups, personalized communication via InMail and mobile.As David Thacker mentioned, we are always thinking about out how to get brands into the conversations to meet our members expectations.
  • Our product vision and strategy isn’t solely about monetizing the platform. It’s guided strongly by our core value of member’s first. We know they are on our platform, the types of engagement they are looking for and how they want to learn and gather insights via content. This is what helps us build products to help brands get into these conversation.To illustrate that, here are some examples of products that we have or have recently launched that help you to get into the newsfeed, that help you with groups, that help you create personalized experiences.
  • Now taking a step back and reflecting on what we just discussed, what are the big overarching takeaways that we are asking all of you to think about as you go into Q4 or for 2014 planning that have broader implication on your strategy.Target more than IT. 43% of the work outside of the IT department so utilize LinkedIn’s new IT Committee segment to broaden your reach.Second, the IT Committee has a diverse set of needs that differs by stage, seniority, etc. Effective content not only covers a wide range of topics, it is authentic, valuable and timely.Third, start earning leads via social in addition to the traditional lead generation approaches you are currently using.Fourth, focus on building those long term relationships to make the short listFinally, you can’t manage what you can’t measure so consider a new KPI. Begin tracking when you make the shortlist. Knowing that you are on the short list as well as seeing the IT Committee engage with you on LinkedIn are strong buying signals and you can allocate resources accordingly.

The Social Bridge to the IT Committee The Social Bridge to the IT Committee Presentation Transcript

  • The Social Bridge to the IT Committee
  • Jake Raroque Research Consultant LinkedIn @LinkedInMktg #inTC13Roslyn Ku Vice President comScore @comScore
  • The Social Bridge to the IT Committee How trusted content on social media builds relationships with IT buyers Commissioned study conducted by:
  • Through decision making process 60% Buyers are highly informed, savvy, and demanding Source: CEB, “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing”, 2012 First contact with brand
  • Tech companies risk being on the sidelines if they don’t educate and help TECH COMPANIES 5 Decrease in lead potential Implications Less exposure to client and prospect projects Limiting long-term perception as a trusted partner and thought leader
  • Social media can help bridge the gap and build relationships TECH COMPANIES
  • Why is it so critical to foster long-term relationships?
  • There is a scarcity of influential B2B tech buyers – tech companies can’t afford to alienate them 5X more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one 3 1 comScore PlanMetrix US June 2013 2 Forrester Research. Global Tech Market Outlook 2013 To 2014. January 2013. 3 TARP Worldwide $820 billion US IT spending2 15million US Tech Decision Makers1
  • THE IT COMMITTEE They work cross functionally 43% Work outside of IT They include individual contributors and managers 50% are individual contributors or managers These scarce influencers include more than the IT department and the Executive team Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013
  • LinkedIn partnered with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Mashwork to understand today’s B2B IT Committee comScore: Q3 2013 SMG / Mashwork: 2012 LinkedIn data: Q2 2013 What are they thinking? 379 IT Committee members What are they saying? 3,000 tech posts from public LinkedIn Groups What are they doing? IT decision makers on LinkedIn
  • Key Findings Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Make the vendor shortlist by fostering long-term relationships, while serving short-term needs via lead generation. The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think. Social media is not just for connecting with peers. The IT Committee actively seeks insights & conversations with vendors.
  • The IT Committee actively seeks conversations with vendors on social media
  • Nearly all of the IT Committee use social networks Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 LinkedIn leads all social platforms 86% 2013 95%95% 2012 85% Use social network monthly for business
  • The reason? Social media – LinkedIn especially – provides them with trust, efficiency, relevance, and access Source: Commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting in 8 countries on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2012 Access A Access a broader network 49% Relevance R Relevant context to connect with vendors 37% Efficiency E Quickly find information 40% Trust T Learn from trustworthy peers 58%
  • TERA continues to drive even deeper utilization across the entire IT decision process Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 67%56% 58% 49% 61% Implement 70% Select 68% Plan 74% Scope 73% Awareness 79% Influence of social media at each stage of decision making YoY Increase
  • As tech decision makers use social to learn and debate, they’re looking to vendors to participate Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 68% Open to connecting with new vendors on social Ready to have a conversation with a vendor on social 76%
  • The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think
  • The IT Committee already have a good idea who they want to work with Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 vendors make their short listOnly 3 purchased from a vendor that made the short list92% purchased from a new vendorOnly 1 in 6
  • How do you make the short list if you are a new vendor?
  • Old ways of communicating don’t work and can turn off your audience Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Top 5 reasons the IT Committee doesn’t connect with a vendor on a social network 05 Talk too much about themselves 02 Don’t believe would provide any credible information 04 Don’t believe would provide any info that is relevant to my job 01 Don’t want to receive a lot of marketing materials 03 Not thought leaders in the category Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013
  • Building relationships with the right content is critical to being considered
  • AWARENESS SCOPE PLAN SELECT IMPLEMENT The IT Committee are interested in a diverse range of topics – earn more interest with multiple types of content Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Best practices, how-to’s, checklists Product / solution demo / software trial IT industry news / strategy info Top types of information sought in each stage of IT decision-making process: Diagnostic / assessment tools
  • 3,217 IT Decision Makers engaged with this article on LinkedIn in June "Windows 8 is gold: Release date just days away [link] #ITBW for @computerworld by @richi $MSFT” Junior Decision Maker, Twitter "It's nice to hear that Asian companies are starting to adopt e-learning. [Link] E- learning going mobile in Asia | ZDNet” Senior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Groups Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 Senior decision makers are 2X more likely to have shared and engaged with product / industry news
  • Senior decision makers were 11.5X more engaged with thought leadership content Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 1,345 IT Decision Makers engaged with this post on LinkedIn in June
  • Source: commissioned social intelligence research conducted by Mashwork on behalf of Starcom MediaVest Group and LinkedIn, Q1 – Q4 2012 Junior decision makers were 39% more engaged with best practice content "An interesting and insightful article elaborating on the innovative applications of analytics to enhance VAS revenues.... [Link]" Junior Decision Maker, LinkedIn Group
  • Build relationships to make the short list
  • Traditional lead generation needs to be blended with social to earn leads Sweet Spot Social Relationships Valuable Content Traditional lead generation
  • Context matters. Credibility and trust drive brand perception and willingness to consider a vendor for the shortlist 45% 46% 47% 32% 33% 31% 23% 23% 21% Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 % who trust LinkedIn more than other websites Connecting more efficiently with vendors and relevant companies Talking about my experience with IT vendors Receiving information relevant to my IT decisions LinkedIn Same Other websites
  • The IT Committee are more likely to engage with their vendors on LinkedIn than on other social networks Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Reading a post from their vendor Following their vendor 50% more often than other social networks LINKEDIN IS USED 56% more often than other social networks LINKEDIN IS USED
  • Likelihood of getting a meeting with the IT Committee increases as vendors engage with this audience on LinkedIn Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 # of types of engagement with vendor on LinkedIn before purchase Pre-Purchase Vendor Engagement by # of Types of Engagement on LinkedIn
  • Vendors who interact with the IT Committee at a high rate are more likely to create promoters Source: commissioned study conducted by comScore in the US on behalf of LinkedIn, Q3 2013 Engagement on LinkedIn Prior To Purchase Vendor Net Promoter Score 39 NONE 58 1 TYPES 62 2+ TYPES
  • Engage the IT Committee everywhere they learn FEED MOBILE GROUPS INMAIL
  • Earn leads and build relationships with content SLIDESHARE CHANNEL SPONSORED UPDATES SLIDESHARE CONTENT ADS PERSONALIZED INSIGHTS VIA API
  • Implications for IT Marketers 01 02 03 04 Target more than IT functions in your campaigns. Ensure your content is authentic, valuable, timely, and customized by decision stage and seniority. Start earning leads via social in addition to buying leads. Focus on building relationships to get on the short list. Begin tracking how often and for what clients you make the short list.05